Southend-on-Sea Borough Council has called on English National League football club Southend United to make a decision on its proposed new 21,000-seat stadium after granting the project final approval.
The venture last month cleared one of the last remaining major hurdles before construction can commence with the news Secretary of State Michael Gove will not call in the scheme. This came after it was granted initial approval by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council in October.
Council lawyers have now officially signed off the planning application, with United being asked to give an update to fans as to when the project will proceed.
Carole Mulroney, Councillor responsible for Environment, Culture, Tourism and Planning, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “All of the legal agreements that go with an application of this size have been finalised and it’s all down to the club now.”
The stadium, which has been designed by architecture firm Populous, will be located at the Fossetts Farm site and the plans will result in the creation of a whole new neighbourhood, with residential space to be incorporated into the venue itself.
As part of the plans, 1,114 new homes will be built, including 333 affordable homes for local residents. The project will also pave the way for the regeneration of Roots Hall, Southend’s current home stadium, which will be redeveloped to provide 502 new homes for rent.
Populous’ plans also incorporate a hotel and conference facility into the new stadium site, along with retail and commercial spaces, and football training facilities. Populous hopes the project will set a design precedent for a new development model by integrating an element of the residential accommodation within the stadium itself.
The North Stand of the stadium will see residential frontages combined with the venue’s conferencing and match-day hospitality spaces. The residential accommodation will also be set within a groundscraper on top of the stadium.
Southend was relegated from the English Football League (EFL) last season and currently sits 12th in the National League. Southend has played at Roots Hall since the 12,392-capacity stadium opened in 1955.